Facebook is a compelling platform for advertisers for many reasons, comprising powerful targeting options & affordable costs, among others.
Your Facebook ad costs will vary based on a number of factors, comprising your audience, industry, goals& optimization settings.
But Dan Rohsler, social account manager at digital agency Power Digital Marketing, said it’s common to expect the cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) to vary between $5 and $10 & cost per click (CPC) to come in below $2.
Kevin Miller, director of growth at home-buying app Open Listings, said a safe average cost per click on FB for most businesses is $1.50. Peter Messmer, director of growth & strategy at conversion optimization platform Add Shoppers, said CPC costs for retargeting are in the $0.75 to $1.25 range, with cost per acquisition (CPA) costs for retargeting in the $5 – $10 range.
These costs are competitive & well within reach of smaller businesses.
With that in mind, here is a look at nine actionable steps your brand could take to save money on Facebook ads & come in below average.
Target a more specific audience.
Per Ben Cook, marketing director of social media JC Social Media, advertisers could be as precise with their criteria as possible when specifying audiences.
“By narrowing your target audiences, you can drastically reduce the competition from other brands running ads to similar audiences,” he said. “Remember you are in a bidding war with hundreds of other brands – only bid on who you want to reach.”
Cook said this means marketers grow the odds that their promoted content will resonate nearly with target individuals.
“It means you could tailor ads to appeal to people in a specific demographic, geographical area & set of interests, giving you the best chance of gaining clicks & generating traction,” he added.
That was this case with children’s book brand Clever Tykes, which worked with JC Social Media to target mothers of children ages 6 to 9and who were also self-employed/business owners, rather than simply targeting parents with children ages six to nine.
That is likely in part because the inventory is low & ad cost is high when you go after an audience that other advertisers want, said Timothy Masek, senior development strategist at development marketing agency Ladder Digital.
“If instead, you target a segment where there’re fewer advertisers competing for ad space – for instance, in international markets –your ad cost will be cheaper,” he added.
Masek also noted that Facebook charges more/less depending on the relevancy of your ads.
“In an effort to reward advertisers for adding value to the FB user, FB will decrease your [ad] cost if the content is relevant to your target segment,” he said. “This relevance is quantified by Facebook’s quality score.”
Use bid caps.
Katy Lowe, social media executive at digital marketing Passion Digital, on the other hand, said the more granular you go with audiences targeting, the more expensive results tend to be, as FB is offering a tool to reach your most valuable audiences, and it is in its own interest to charge more.
Lowe said Passion Digital manages this for its clients by using rules & bid caps, especially for app installs, based on the lifetime value of an individual lead/sale.
Look for audiences overlap.
In addition, Phillip Reinhardt, CEO & co-founder of digital marketing PBJ Marketing, said to use Facebook Audience Overlap tool to see if audiences are overlapping significantly – and, if they’re, to choose the audience that is most relevant to your marketing aims.
“After creating 2 separate audiences for people living in the United States interested in ‘Entrepreneurship’ & ‘Startup Company,’ we quickly ran audiences overlap check on FB,” Reinhardt said.
“As we could see, nearly 50% of the ‘Startup Company’ audience is interested in ‘Entrepreneurship,’” he said. “If we set up a campaign targeting these 2 audiences in separate ad sets without any audience exclusion & pay – let us suppose – $0.10 per click, we can waste up to $220,050 in the ad auction by bidding against ourselves.”
He excluded the interest in entrepreneurship in the startup company audience & vice versa, and ran the overlap tool again & got 0%.
This is important because if there’s a high percentage of overlap, you’re essentially bidding against yourself in the FB auction in order to serve ads to the same people.
“You’re not only advertising to the same person more than once, but you are also paying more to serve ads to the person because of internal competition,” Reinhardt said.
Having low – or no – overlap also allows you to better A/B test the different audiences you are using & customize your bids based on every audience’s ROI.
“For low intention audiences, we bid lower,” Reinhardt said. “For remarketing audiences/converters, we bid higher. This way, we can make sure we aren’t wasting money on people who’re not as interested in us.”
As for those who’re interested in both, Reinhardt said to create dedicated audiences that satisfy both criteria.
“Now if we run the audiences overview tool one last time for all 3 audiences, we’ll have a perfectly segmented group of audiences,” he added.
Set up your Facebook Pixel.
Morgan McGregor, photography & online content specialist at social media marketing firm Hyped, said the biggest tip is to set up your Facebook Pixel, which is a few lines of code you insert into the website to track conversions & access data about your clients.
“It can not only track who your clients & visitors are right down to their Facebook page, but it also collects data like: What are they interested in? How many kids do they have? How much money do they earn? Where do they live? What things have they bought recently? Are they going on holiday soon?What is their average purchase price?” McGregor said.
It could get very detailed, which means marketers are able to target people who’re in a position to start purchasing their products.
“You can not only retarget people who’ve gone on your website, you can even target down to what actions they have taken, such as people who added to their cart but never completed the purchases,” she said.
Setting up a Facebook Pixel also means brands could track which ads are performing best & yield more sales, which means they could really start putting money where it counts.
“It also lets you create dynamic sales funnels [for Top Of Funnel, Middle Of Funnel and Bottom Of Funnel] that could last forever and bring you sales while you sleep – that is the lifestyle we all dream of,” McGregor added.
Test different creative.
Cook recommended testing your Facebook creative to see which executions resonate most.
“FB ad sets enable you to run multiple ads concurrently with the same budget,” he said. “Even though you know your audience inside out, tiny nuances in the image chosen, the copy & the call to action could make a large difference in the results over time.”
He continued: “By using different combinations of text & images, you will be able to spot trends in the adverts’ performances. Take the best features of the better performing ads & drop the worst. This data-driven ad crafting is the best method to get the best value from your ads budget.”
FB Ads coach Monica Louie said she starts with testing the image in the Facebook ad, followed by headline & ad copy.
“It’s fascinating how just changing the image could have a dramatic effect on the costs,” “All of these are done in this specific order to keep costs down and increase conversions,”she said.
Even small improvements in click-through rate & conversion rate can make a huge difference to ROI. The following ad sets are from a B2B client whose CPC JC Social Media reduced by using this testing way.
Tap into retargeting segments.
Messmer highly suggested segmenting website visitors by engagement levels to create better retargeting segments in FB.
“We use a custom retargeting algorithm that automatically sorts the website visitors into low, medium & high engagement groups, and audience pushes to any ad network,” he added.
Jason Parks, president of digital marketing The Media Captain, also said he runs dynamic retargeting & retargeting advertisements to generate sales at a cheap cost per acquisition on FB.
Target fans separately.
Reinhardt said to segment consumers who are connected to your Facebook page & save them as an independent fan audience & build dedicated campaigns for them. Meanwhile, also exclude existing FB fans in other audiences. The same could be done for website visitors & converters.
That is because Facebook fans are typically the best-performing audiences in terms of engagement rate & conversion rate, he said.
“We want to ensure that all the Facebook fans are reached & the best way to do it is to create a separate audience for FB fans,” he added.
For instance, for a nonprofit client, Reinhardt said he ran a fundraising campaign and the segmented Facebook fan audiences had a cost per conversion of $1.16 & a ROAS of $56.58. The interest targeting excluding Facebook fans audiences PBJ Marketing used, on the other hand, had a cost per conversion of $98.45 & a ROAS of $2.22.
“During the final stages of the fundraising campaign, we quickly lowered the daily budget & bids for the interest targeting and prioritized on high return audiences,” he said. “A perfectly segmented account lets us clearly identify where the opportunity is & spend our client’s money on the best audiences.”
Refresh your creative.
Miller said to refresh your Facebook ad creative every 2 weeks to avoid ad fatigue.
Jomel Alos agreed with online PR lead & content marketing strategist at digital marketing company Spiralytics.
“One of the most problems we see with our clients before they hire us is the failure to refresh the ad visuals,” Alos said. “Once they see that an ad is performing they do not monitor its frequency anymore, which results in ad fatigue or the point when the audiencesare already too familiar with the ad.” The causes ad performance to drop off precipitously.
Alos pointed to a case study with what he called a health plan with consistent CPC/CTR/CR & CPL for the first six days. On day seven, however, CPC & CPL started to increase, as everyone targeted had seen the ad 4 times on average. And as fewer users click on your ad, FB starts to lose money and must decide whether to stop showing your ad/to charge you more, Spiralytics noted in a blog post.
To prevent this, advertisers should report on ad-level conversion metrics daily. Spiralytics said, after a few ads run, you will get a feel for your range of impressions/person for where the ad will fatigue, and you could indicate this metric in your reports & pause ads as they approach the fatigue point.
- Take advantage of video.
Damon Gochneaur, founder & managing partner of digital marketing firm Aspiro Agency, said his #1 tip for reducing the cost of advertising on FB is to use video anywhere you can.
“Video is on average 10% of the cost of carousel/single image ads,” he said. “We pay on average anywhere from $0.15 – $0.50 per click on video campaigns, with single image ads in the $2.00 & higher CPC, for the same audiences.”
Lowe agreed: FB values video content in ads because it gives videos bigger impression share & therefore cheaper CPC.
“For smaller clients without budgets to produce dedicated video ads for the plan, we often use Facebook’s own in-platform tools to make slideshows of product/service imagery, which could be downloaded as video content in the ideal spec for FB video ads,” she added.
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